BOOKS BY RAY ARGYLE
Inventing Secularism: The Radical Life of George Jacob Holyoake
Jailed for atheism and disowned by his family, George Jacob Holyoake came out of an English prison at the age of 25 determined to bring an end to religion’s control over daily life. This first modern biography of the founder of Secularism describes a transformative figure whose controversial and conflict-filled life helped shape the modern world. Ever on the front lines of social reform, Holyoake was hailed for having won “the freedoms we take for granted today.” With Secularism now under siege, George Holyoake’s vision of a “virtuous society” rings today with renewed clarity.
The Paris Game: Charles de Gaulle, the Liberation of Paris, and the Gamble That Won France
Amid the ravages of a world war, three men — a general, a president, and a prime minister — are locked in a rivalry that threatens their partnership and puts the world’s most celebrated city at risk of destruction before it can be liberated. This is the setting of The Paris Game, a dramatic recounting of how an obscure French general under sentence of death by his government launches on the most enormous gamble of his life: to fight on alone after his country’s capitulation to Nazi Germany. In a game of intrigue and double-dealing, Charles de Gaulle must struggle to retain the loyalty of Winston Churchill against the unforgiving opposition of Franklin Roosevelt and the traitorous manoeuvring of a collaborationist Vichy France. How he succeeds in restoring the honour of France and securing its place as a world power is the stuff of raw history, both stirring and engrossing.
Joey Smallwood: Schemer and Dreamer
Known as the “only living Father of Confederation” in his lifetime, Joey Smallwood was an entertaining, crafty, and controversial politician in Canada for decades.Born in Gambo, Newfoundland, Joseph (“Joey”) Smallwood (1900–1991) spent his life championing the worth and potential of his native province. Although he was a successful journalist and radio personality, Smallwood is best known for his role in bringing Newfoundland into Confederation with Canada in 1949, believing that such an action would secure an average standard of living for Newfoundlanders. He was rightfully dubbed the “only living Father of Confederation” in his lifetime and was premier of the province for twenty-three years.
In Joey Smallwood: Schemer and Dreamer, Ray Argyle reexamines the life of this incredible figure in light of Newfoundland’s progress in recent years.
Scott Joplin and the Age of Ragtime
At the turn of the twentieth century, Scott Joplin struggled on the margins of society to play a pivotal role in the creation of ragtime music. His brief life and tragic death encompassed a tumultuous time of changes in modern music, culture, and technology. This biography follows Joplin’s life from the brothels and bars of St. Louis to the music mills of Tin Pan Alley as he introduced a syncopated, lively style to classical piano.
The Boy in the Picture
Edward Mallandaine was there! To prove it he thrust himself into the historic photograph of the “Last Spike” being driven to mark the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Surrounded by the railway dignitaries of the time, his young face peers out amid their frosty beards. Edward had just turned eighteen when he left his home in Victoria, British Columbia, to join the Canadian militia to fight Louis Riel in the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Hired to ride dispatches over the unfinished stretch of railway in British Columbia, he survives the lawlessness of remote towns and railway camps, rubs shoulders with Chinese labourers struggling to blast a right-of-way through the towering peaks of Eagle Pass, and makes a freezing midnight ride by railway flatcar to reach the outpost of Craigellachie just in time.
Turning Points: The Campaigns That Changed Canada
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The dramatic political events of 2011 — the election of a Conservative majority government after seven years of minority rule — sent Canadian politics hurtling in a new and unpredictable direction. The drama of one of the most exciting elections in Canadian history is captured in this revised and updated edition of Turning Points: the Campaigns That Changed Canada. The new edition retains the original chapters that dissect the pivotal campaigns that have affected Canadians since Confederation, with a new first chapter on the May 2 federal election.
Kennedy After Dallas; A Virtual History
What if John F. Kennedy had survived Dallas on November 22, 1963? Fifty years after the assassination of the President, this book employs the technique of “virtual history” to examine the dramatically different course of events that would have followed if JFK had escaped death on that fateful day.
An Act of Injustice
A bride, a groom, and a lover. One will die, another will hang, and the survivor will begin an obsessive 20-year odyssey to discover the truth. Three people caught up in the harsh class differences and religious and racial prejudices of Victorian Canada, where a vast new territory—the “Queen’s Bush”—is being opened to settlement in Ontario’s Georgian Bay country. Inspired by the true lives of Rosannah Leppard and Cook Teets, An Act of Injustice follows disgruntled newspaperman Leonard Babington in a combination courtroom drama, murder mystery, and meditation on the moral malaise of Victorian Canada. His obsession plunges him into the labyrinth world of Ottawa power politics, the salons of a smug “Toronto the Good,” and the licentiousness of the city’s Insane Asylum. With literary distinction and storytelling mastery, this historical novel brings the urgency of today’s headlines to the struggle for romance, justice, and equality in a young, 20th century Canada.
The Time of My Life
In The Time of My Life, Ray Argyle makes a series of trips around Canada in a search to rediscover his roots and take the measure of a changing country. Handicapped only by a wonky knee that “makes it hard to chase streetcars or fend off pit bulls,” Argyle leads his daughters Sharon, Brenda, and Roanne on explorations into a life lived on the edge. The result is a memoir that is funny, poignant, and reflective, spanning Canada’s nation-building years of the twentieth century to the present. He writes of the literature, personalities, and political events he’s encountered and speculates on a future where unrestrained manipulation of public opinion will deepen the chasm between a fearful rich and an anguished poor.